Early detection and intervention for babies who are on the Autism Spectrum:


Early detection of autism characteristics is crucial in your child’s journey to treatment. Although a new diagnosis or suspicion of autism may be an emotional challenge, it is very important to the child’s growth and development. Early detection and diagnosis can open many opportunities for treatment, support, and early intervention.

 What is Autism? What are the early signs to watch for?

Autism is a spectrum disorder under the category of developmental delay. A spectrum disorder is characterized by a number of symptoms that may or may not be present with varying severity. Symptoms of autism may include impaired social skills ( poor eye contact, lack of affection, lack of empathy, disinterest in peers or toys etc.) , impaired communication abilities (repetitive speech, impaired vocal communication etc.), and be accompanied by repetitive behavior (fixation on various topics or interests, rocking, hand flapping, toe walking etc.).

5 signs or symptoms of Autism in babies:

  1. Minimal response to sounds and familiar voices is another common characteristic. You may notice your child does not flinch or seem to register loud noises in the environment, he or she may not respond to your voice when you call or speak to them.
  2. Lack of gestural communication to get attentions such as holding arms out, pointing, waving, or shaking head.
  3. Your child may not make vocalizations such as cooing, babbling, or other baby talk. Many parents begin to feel concerned when they notice that their child is not speaking or attempting to make vocal sounds during infancy.
  4. Disinterest in acts of affection such as cuddles, hugs, or other forms of touch. Many children with autism are sensory sensitive and may not like to be touched, other children simply lack interest in these social practices.
  5. Delayed imitation typically relating to “watch and learn” behaviors from parents, siblings, or other children.

Delayed milestones and early warning signs does not guarantee an Autism diagnosis:

Although your child may demonstrate delays in similar area’s listed above, a single symptom may not mean autism. Autism is diagnosed based on a collective number of symptoms causing impairment of functioning. Your diagnostician will provide testing to rule out other potential medical or cognitive possibilities or confirm an autism diagnosis.

What should parents do if they detect any of these red flags?

If you have concerns about your child’s development it is important to discuss this with your pediatrician. Your child’s doctor may not detect these signs during a short routine visit and it is important to notify them of any concerns you have.

Although autism can seem like a scary thing the most important thing to remember is to advocate for your child’s needs. Early detection can allow early intensive therapies to minimize the symptoms and teach your child the skills they need to grow and learn.

Are you a parent of a child with Autism?

Learn more about Key Autism Services.

Our ABA therapists travel to your home to provide unique treatment plans for kids and teens with autism.

We work with Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield, Aetna, United Health Care, Optum, Cigna, and more! Reach out to confirm your benefit.

A Comfortable Environment for the Child

When ABA is done in the home, the child has a chance build rapport with new team members in a comfortable and safe space. They can focus just on a new team member and not have to factor in outside variables. It can be both distracting and scary to adapt to new children and unfamiliar spaces. With a therapeutic team in the home, the first step is meeting the therapists and building a strong relationship with them. Then, they can begin working to bring their new skills into other environments, on step at a time.

Reinforcers – Using each child’s favorite toy and activity. 

Reinforcers are a key part of behavior analysis. But the best reinforcers are the ones that motivate the child by using what they already love to do. These toys and activities are usually already in the home. Therapy teams can use the access to these reinforcers to spark motivation.

Naturalistic teaching

Conducting therapy in the child’s natural environment will allow for practice of skills directly related to family concerns.
For example, many of the kiddos in Key Autism Service’s home-based ABA programs are working on interactions with siblings. Therapy teams can work on this directly in their natural setting. They create programs that are structured around real interactions. Together, they can practice and improve communication with siblings. It doesn’t end with siblings, ABA can address any relationship or daily response.
Another common example is setting boundaries around electronics. At home, it isn’t unusual for a child to prefer to spend time on their iPad, video game, or other electronics. The behavior stops them from engaging with family or doing their homework. ABA teams wan work with the child to set limits with these items. ABA therapists motivate kids and teens to mange their time.


Conducting therapy in the child’s natural environment will help to teach skills where the child needs them every day. When teaching how to brush teeth in a bathroom it may surprise you how important the bathroom setup itself can be. Imagine learning to find the toothpaste in drawers to your right then going home to find that they’re always in cabinets above you! Children may also need to learn how to use their specific appliances. Teaching these skills at home in the space and with the items that they will actually use can speed this up.

Parental involvement

Conducting therapy in the home promotes parental and family involvement. Parents are encouraged to sit in or observe sessions when possible. Many family members want to learn the goals and programs their child is working on. They can then incorporate what is learned to better assist with their child’s programming when the therapy team is not there

Sibling involvement

ABA therapy allows the incorporation of siblings into the therapy session. Time can be used to educate siblings, work on social skills, build a positive sibling relationship etc.

Involvement of other family members

Home-based ABA therapy can incorporate other relatives or caregivers present in the home. Can train nannies, grandparents, etc so that the whole team is on the same page with a consistent treatment plan.

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